More than 60% of Medicare-eligible seniors say they’ve embraced technology more during the pandemic, according to a new survey from healthinsurance.com.
The website hosted an online survey for Americans 64 years old or above between July 20 and July 21, 2020, to gauge seniors’ use of technology, their lives during the pandemic, their Medicare plans and more. More than 1,000 seniors responded to the survey.
Seniors say they are using technology more than ever before for their healthcare, to stay informed, to communicate with friends and family, and for entertainment.
WHAT’S THE IMPACT?
The survey found that the overall use of telemedicine services among seniors increased 300% during the COVID-19 impact.
More than 40% of the respondents say they have used telemedicine since the start of the pandemic, with 30% saying they’ve used it once a month. Among the people who haven’t used telemedicine during the pandemic, 68% say it’s because they haven’t needed to.
Within the group that has used telemedicine, 28% monitor their health using a wearable, 43% would wear a device that helped maintain appropriate social distance during the COVID-19 pandemic and alerted others if they were too close, 34% order prescriptions from an online pharmacy, and 43% intend on using telemedicine once COVID-19 passes.
The survey also asked seniors about their Medicare usage and preferences. It found that 78% use the internet to research and understand Medicare options. Almost all (97%) say their doctor accepts Medicare, and 69% with a Medicare Advantage plan are happy with it.
About half of respondents believe that the age to be eligible for Medicare should be lowered to 60. Thirty-seven percent think seniors who have a Medicare Advantage plan and who contract COVID-19 are getting better care, and 26% intend to switch from Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan in the next enrollment period.
THE LARGER TREND
The COVID-19 has turned out to be the catalyst for the health industry to adopt new technology and telemedicine.
Between a slew of emergency use authorizations that allow for innovations in digital health, and social distance policies that create a boost in demand for telehealth services, more people and health systems are using technology than ever before.
For seniors, who make up one of the most vulnerable populations to get seriously ill from COVID-19, coming up with protective measures has been an important task. CarePredict rolled out a new set of contact-tracing tools designed for senior living facilities at the end of March. If a staff member or patient contracts COVID-19, the tool can identify where they were in the facility and alert regarding who they came in contact with.
Another major focus has been adopting technology to help seniors overcome loneliness and social isolation in the pandemic. Last week, SCAN Health Plan and Rally Health released an interactive digital platform for SCAN’s senior members. The platform offers seniors an online social community where they can interact with peers and share experiences.